Partial Electric Brewing HERMS System
So after browsing on this forum for a while, I've decided to finally post a bit about my project and share some photos of my build. I was finally inspired to move from extract brewing to all grain after spending some time volunteering at one of the local microbreweries.
To start I decided to move to converted sanke kegs and scale up to 10 gallon batches. At this point I have only been doing 5 gallon partial boil batches.
Since I am moving to a full boil system, I opted to build a counter flow chiller. For the chiller, I used 25' softer copper tubing 3/8" and wrapped it with 14 AWG bare copper wire to increase the turbulence on the cool side.
I think at this point I have attached some photos of the chiller build and finished product. I will need to start another post in a few to add details about my converted kegs.
So continuing on with the description. I decided after a few conversations with a brewing friend of mine that it would be best to have an oversized mash tun, and I am glad I followed that advice. I originally was looking at the 10 gallon igloo coolers, but opted to use a full sanke keg for the task.
For a false bottom I decided to go with the Sabco false bottom after reading so many reviews from people discussing issues with grain getting pulled into the pump due to the false bottom not being held down properly or lifting up during the vorlauf. I looked at the Jaybird false bottom, but ultimately it seemed that the price was a little higher than the Sabco, and the Sabco came with the stand attached already.
I bought most of my fittings from bargainfittings.com, got some sight glasses from bobby_m as well as his mash recirculation tube, and I got my pumps from rebel brewing. I opted to go all stainless (wasn't expecting it to be sooo much money for fittings....) and used a 1/2" soft cobber tubing for the HERMS coil.
For the electric portion, I chose to use 120V since I am still somewhat mobile with no permanent brewing location. I also designed it for a 20 amp circuit, but overall, i don't expect to draw more than 15 amps at any given point. I used a 120V 1500W heat stick. The first one rusted pretty bad, but I think that may have been due to some of my cleaning chemistries prior to use. I plan to try a different heat stick before going down the road of a sacrificial magnesium anode.
For the PID controller, I went with the Auber Instruments, and I cannot be more pleased with all its features for the price. I also chose to work with the Pt100 RTD built in to a sealed 1/2" NPT fitting.
My panel is a hammond panel, set to be able to toggle on 2 pumps, the heat, and the PID control.
I am hoping to do a test brew this weekend on this new system. I should post some pictures in a few minutes of the build.
So as I'm gearing up to do my first batch on my new system (without the stand put together), I am having difficulty coming up with a good plan for strike water. Originally I was thinking this could be done in the HLT and it probably still can, but I'm anticipating good thermal transfer through the HERMS coil but I am concerned about temperature overshoot by the PID controller and not enough thermal loses for the temperature to fall back down quickly after the overshoot.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to manage the strike water and/or thermal overshoot by the PID? I intend to run 2 pumps full time during the mash (1 for HLT recirculation and 1 for HERMS circulation).
So my sabco false bottom was a bit disappointing. It actually bent itself when I got a stuck mash. I was really frustrated about that. Anyone have thoughts on how to prevent this? I may just need to get one of the Jaybird stands to support it better.
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